Latest

Blog

July 26th, 2015

jbrowe

The Heartbeat of Innovation -

Do you feel that pulse?!

It may be the bias of my passion for the marketing and advertising business that drives me to enthuse about the innovation – or at least the potential to innovate – that is at the heart of it.

 

New product development, restaging a dated product, generating brilliant and breakthrough creative, discovering new markets, and so many more opportunities to innovate: the possibility for building something truly novel is a rush, isn’t it?

 

A recent Forbes article about Lexus developing the prototype of a Hoverboard caught my innovation-loving attention.  And it prompted some questions:

  • How good are organizations really in their ability to innovate?
  • What innovations that could be solutions to serious problems might be gathering dust in organizations across the country? Around the world?

The Lexus Hoverboard: this is a product concept that grabs the imagination, doesn’t it?

 

From the Jetsons to Back to the Future, the concept may not be new, but Lexus has a prototype.  That seems pretty gutsy.  How many organizations will invest the resources and take the risk to develop a product that is so “out there”?

 

Forbes quoted Lexus EVP, Mark Templin, reflecting on the culture that underlies this commitment to innovate:

“At Lexus, we constantly challenge ourselves and our partners to push the boundaries of what is possible. That determination, combined with our passion and expertise for design and innovation, is what led us to take on the Hoverboard project. It’s the perfect example of the amazing things that can be achieved when you combine technology, design and imagination.”

 

These are words of inspiration… “Push the boundaries”…“Passion”…”Combine Technology Design and Imagination”…and it’s my sense anyway that we see and hear them a lot.

 

It may be silly to ask how many companies express words like these and then also put them into action.  How many Hoverboard prototypes do you see?

 

One answer may be in a survey The Center for Creative Leadership conducted with its 500-client panel in 2014 about the need they see for innovation and their ability to deliver it:

  • 94% of respondents said innovation is a key driver of success.
  • Only 14% felt confident about the ability of their organization to drive innovation effectively.

Also of interest, the Association for Talent Development recently published an article, Stuck in the Middle: Why Innovation Dies and What to Do About It.  If creativity might be getting stuck in your organization, look at some of the ideas it offers for letting innovation break free.

July 8th, 2015

Robin Donovan

Dear Facebook

I would like to ask you for a favor.

I use Facebook for business, for personal connections and for book promotion. I used to look forward to checking out my News Feed for all the interesting, entertaining and sometimes even exciting posts. Now I approach with trepidation. There are things I see that turn my blood cold. Some of these things have a major, negative impact on my state of mind, and I can ill afford to have that happen. Call me a wimp if you want – but I know for a fact that I am not alone in this perception.

Let me give you some examples. For me, the single worst thing that occurs with a great deal of frequency is when folks post stories and photos of atrocities to animals, and even to humans. I know they are meant to make me aware and propel me into action, but they horrify and upset me. In that state I’m rarely good to anyone – for anything. My second biggest concern is all the folks who post that their dog or cat has died. I am an empathetic person – this just kills me. Two nights ago, I saw tearjerking posts about four different French Bulldogs that had died. My heart goes out to them – too far out. These posts can ruin my whole mood. Does that seem selfish? Well, I have my own mood-ruining stuff – so I don’t need to share everyone else’s!

Second tier aggravations are political and religious posts. If I agree with you I don’t need to read it and if I don’t, you’re not going to convert me – so I don’t want to see it. I’ll never be impressed with your religious or political opinions because they are personal opinions that you are entitled to have, but I’m not obligated to be subjected to them.

Aside from these 4 major problems, there are a just a few more irritating areas: folks who drop vague hints in order to be drawn out – just say it for god sake, folks who oversell – I’m okay with a little light sell – but some of these folks need to give it a rest and lately I’ve been getting an influx of posts selling erotic reading material – I can’t reject those eroto-posterbaters fast enough. And what’s with those videos that you click on, only to be diverted to some hideous photo that shocks and horrifies? Please, no more photos of botched surgery in vivid color, I can only take so much!

After all of this, here’s the favor. Could you please start to compartmentalize some of these topics out of the mainstream News Feed? I would even pay money not to see the atrocities and the dead pet announcements.

I would never suggest that these folks don’t have the right of free speech – or posts – but they are impinging on my right not to be traumatized. There’s got to be a way, maybe a separate News Feed for Rainbow Bridge or a social consciousness news feed. Let’s face it, the whole political thing is only going to get worse in the next year.

If you compartmentalize these posts I can decide to engage when and if I choose, and my Facebook experience will improve exponentially. How about it – can you help me out here?

 

June 14th, 2015

jbrowe

Your People – Your Brand

Recent skirmishes with the Customer Service departments of two different companies left me with these questions:

  • Why do I buy their products?
  • Don’t these companies know what such horrible customer service does to their brand image?

So much is written about “brand ambassadors”.  It’s not a new concept, of course…

Several years ago, I was a Regional Sales Director for a small company that grew and packaged specialty lettuces and greens.  At the core of the product line was a beautiful green known as “mâche” or lamb’s lettuce.  It’s very much a niche item, and the company’s marketing budget was tiny.  The Marketing Director asked us to extend the reach of her limited resources by supporting her efforts as “Brand Ambassadors” in our Regions.

 

There we were, an army of three Regional Directors, dispersed across the Lower 48, equipped with emerald green attire, a megaphone, pom-poms, batons and a one-man-marching-band assortment of instruments.  Well, I exaggerate a bit, but as Brand Ambassadors, we were INFORMED, and we carried THE BRAND MESSAGE fully in sync with positioning and strategy.

 

In contrast, the horrible customer service I experienced recently was (mis)served by two large, deeply resourced companies, one a medical device firm and the other a telecommunications/cable company.

 

The medical device firm boasts, “Our mission is to provide you with World Class Customer Service”. 

The first customer service representative I spoke with told me she was having replacement parts for our machine shipped “Now”, and we would see them 24 -28 hours later by UPS.  Nine days and at least a dozen customer service reps later, still no parts, but an email saying “… your job ticket is complete and therefore, closed”.   And further follow-up calls, where customer service representatives see no record of earlier calls, emails or job tickets.

 

Please help us if this is what “World Class Customer Service” has come to mean!!

 

The telecommunications/cable company sees itself as “a leading provider of integrated communications solutions, including local and long distance voice, data, high-speed Internet and entertainment services that keep (area) residential and business customers connected with each other and with the world.

 

Service has been intermittent for 7 days.  One day on the phone with customer service, I was rocketed around the world three times as various off-shore customer service representatives repeatedly transferred me to “someone who can help”.

 

Yes, I do feel connected with the world I guess.  So…mission accomplished?

 

Brand strategy HAS to integrate ALL customer engagement points successfully.  Does your Customer Service team put out a message – in words as well as in their service – that supports your brand’s position?

 

If there is a place for Brand Ambassadors, Customer Service is certainly it.  Insist that the right people are on staff and expertly trained to support your brand’s strategy, position and messaging.

 

Your brand’s future may depend on it.

 

June 4th, 2015

Robin Donovan

Epic Facebook Fail

Facebook is a venue for networking, for keeping up with friends and family, for reaching out and expanding your horizons, and therein lies the danger.

Since my book was released in late 2011, I have had the opportunity and privilege to connect with authors from all over. These folks have expanded my horizons in so many more ways than I could ever have imagined. On a daily basis they teach me, make me laugh and make me think. I don’t even mind if they try to sell me one of their books – though I’d prefer a soft sell to some of the more in-your-face promotions. Having said all of this, I do have one major complaint.

When I receive an invitation to connect with someone I don’t know – I just naturally assume they’re an author. On several occasions I have been sadly mistaken and have been subjected to the stalky advances of some sniveling creep. Here’s the one I received this morning:

Hello,I am Kenneth, i love your good looking,How I wish words could express the thoughts that I have towards you. If I should say I love you then the greater percent of my words are still unexpressed.But of course, I must say something. my heart beats for you, and my heart longs for you.Can we have a conversation on. Thanks

Chat Conversation End

A number of my other Facebook “friends” have experienced a similar kind of stalky message, and we all find it unnerving. Perhaps this is why they do it – to make us feel unsettled.

I have a message for all of you Kenneths. Crawl back into your hidey-hole. You do not intimidate us – you sadden us. And to paraphrase a line from The Big Bang Theory, “you will never get a woman, that’s right, we all got together and took a vote!”

And as for everyone else – hell yes, I am going to de-friend him ASAP!

 

May 18th, 2015

jbrowe

B2B Companies: Did you Overlook a Lead Today?

Just a few months ago, we posed this question in our blog: “Should Business-to-Business Marketers Use Social Media?”.

Just as it was then, the answer now is “yes”, and a newly published B2B Social Media Report, adds further depth to the affirmative.  Brandwatch, a social media monitoring and analytics firm, just released a study exhibiting that B2B companies miss more than 70,000 sales opportunities every year.

70,000.

This is from a survey of 200 of the top B2B companies in the US and the UK that also determined that nearly 25% of leading B2B brands do not have a social media account of any type.

So, 70,000 is an understatement.  The Brandwatch study points to 72,756 “mentions” in social media that reflected an “intent to purchase” with language such as:

  • “I’m thinking of buying…”
  • “I’m looking to buy….”
  • “I want to get…”

 

Through extensive research , Brandwatch learned that less than 1% of such mentions were engaged by companies that could fulfill the order.

 

The primary reason is that generally, B2B marketers have not been tuning in to conversations taking place through social channels.  The solution, however, is not solely in “being” in social media.

 

As our earlier post counseled, social media communications need to follow a disciplined strategic plan that integrates with and supports the overall marketing strategy.

 

The Brandwatch study reinforces this, cautioning that many B2B brands rely almost exclusively on Twitter and Facebook, when their customers are active on news sites, forums, blogs and even video and image sites.

Extraordinary opportunity is out there.  Has your organization given deep consideration to a strategic plan to capture it?

April 21st, 2015

Kim Mickelsen

It’s all about the widening mobile gap

The term “Mobilegeddon”  has being bandied around the last few days by the media to characterize the change Google is implementing today relative to mobile search results.

While Google’s algorithm change will certainly impact many companies that don’t have mobile-ready sites, it’s a logical move. And one Google has been pushing for the last two years. In reality, we’ve ALL been talking about the impact of mobile and this change may be the push needed to make sites more usable for consumers.

Last year was a tipping point — the first time that adults in the US spent more time on mobile devices than they did on PCs. And given our mobile world, that gap will widen this year and continue to grow.

The fact is, the majority of US consumers now regularly use a smartphone and nearly half of the population now uses a tablet. More than a third of consumers are using both smartphones and tablets. A full 7 percent of US adults are completely dependent on their smartphones for Internet access.

TimeSpentByMediaWhen you look at total daily media time per US consumer, it’s now at 12 hours and four minutes a day, up seven minutes from last year. With almost half of that spent on digital.

When you drill down by media, the growth rate of mobile is at 37% (CAGR). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.

The fastest growing area on mobile is video consumption, with a staggering 91% CAGR. eMarketer’s data shows consumers are watching less TV, but spending more time with video in other places, most notably on their mobile devices.

Display and video will be the fastest-growing mobile ad formats as digital ad dollars quickly shift from desktop to mobile, and ad products improve. US mobile display and mobile video ad revenues are projected to grow at an astonishing CAGR of 96% and 73%, respectively, between 2013 and 2018.

This change won’t be without pain. Recent reports estimate that 40% of the leading sites failed Google’s mobile-friendly test and may be down-ranked in search. But it is good news for consumers, because it will push organizations to improve their sites to make them more usable on mobile devices.

April 20th, 2015

Robin Donovan

Perception vs. Reality – Makes All The Difference

In the business of communicating, perception vs. reality is a daunting concept. Sometimes we strive to make perception and reality align, and sometimes that alignment is not optimal. Regardless of which works best, we are fully aware that our ability to control perception is a lot like catching the wind. At best we can influence in an impactful way.

We talk about perception vs. reality a lot. I’m sure there are folks that think: is it really that big of a deal? I’ll share a little story – see what you think.

Nearly a decade ago I was vacationing in Capri. Shopping in a little department store in Anacapri, I noticed two salesmen. One looked to be the quintessential mediterranean god. He was dark and incredibly handsome, and he dressed the part of a wealthy playboy – a real treat for the eyes. The other, was more of a scrawny, dorky, older, weasely guy, (am I painting enough of a picture here?) and his clothes were that of a 1960’s file clerk – in fact, from the looks of it he might have had them since the 60’s.

As I continued my shopping, I became engrossed in a hand carved wooden box on a lower shelf. Debating between the hand carved lion and the giraffe, I sensed a nearby presence. Then, suddenly, I felt a pinch on the bum!

I have to admit, I had a brief moment of elation and then my head snapped around to see the culprit.

Moving away from me with a rapid gait was the weasely file clerk.

I have always regretted that turn of my head.

 

March 23rd, 2015

Kim Mickelsen

Is your site mobile ready?

Mobile first has gone from popular buzzword to crucial business strategy as Google updates its algorithm to increase rankings for mobile-friendly sites.

Starting April 21, Google’s changes could have significant impact on your mobile search rankings. If your site is mobile-friendly, expect to see an improvement. Sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will see a drop.

Because Google knows that redesigning a site will take a larger budget than most companies have, they are willing to accept page-by-page fixes. So for now, Google is ranking pages on a page-by-page basis rather than site-wide, and it’s doing its part to improve the mobile experience by rewarding the best pages in search results.

So what does this change mean for you exactly? In short, if your website is not mobile-friendly, meaning your site is not responsive to different screen sizes, properly configured and able to be viewed on multiple device types, your site could be penalized in search rankings. All the valuable SEO your site has currently could be for naught if your site isn’t viewable on a mobile device.

Why is this happening now?

The reasoning for this update is simple. 2014 was a tipping point in that over half of web traffic in the US now occurs on mobile devices. As the world moves to mobile and more and more of our lives occur in a handheld device, it is critical that websites are able to keep up. By rewarding those sites which are mobile friendly, Google is continuing to shape the digital landscape.

Mobile-stats-vs-desktop-users-global-550x405

More people are consuming content through 4.5-inch screens rather than 15+ inch monitors, a major shift that will gain speed in coming years. As big as it is now, the mobile revolution is still ahead of us.

What Are We Doing on Mobile?

How do consumers use mobile devices to access the Web? According to Online Publishers Association/Frank N. Magid Associates:

  • 99.5 percent access content/information
  • 63.1 access the Internet
  • 62.1 percent check email
  • 49.2 percent listen to music
  • 46 percent play games
  • 41.7 percent download and use apps
  • 15 percent make purchases
  • 15 percent read a book

Shift to Mobile Impacts B2B Significantly

If you imagine that the mobile usage is merely a reflection of consumers logging onto social media, checking email or conducting search, or shopping, think again.

Executives lead the way in mobile adoption, validating the theory that digital assets for a business or brand must serve target audiences 24/7, and not just during business hours. Executives rely upon mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) to conduct business research more frequently in the evenings than any other time of day.

time-of-day-you-research-products-or-services-on-smartphone-or-tablet-for-your-business

B2B Decision-Makers Rely on Mobile Devices

Mobile is preferred over the PC for executives conducting research during and after office hours, according to the IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014.

  • 92 percent of executives own a smartphone used for business.
  • 77 percent of executives use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business.
  • 93 percent of executives will purchase that product via the Internet using a laptop or desktop.
  • 86 percent use their tablet and 72 percent of executives use their smartphone to conduct research for products or services for their business.

do-b2b-professionals-research-business-purchases-on-mobile-devices

How Do You Know If Your Site Is Mobile Friendly?

Before you fret too much, you need to determine whether your site is at risk. To determine whether your website is currently being deemed “mobile friendly” by Google, there are two simple tests to run.

mobile-ready1. Check your site’s SERP appearances in a mobile browser. You may have already noticed that mobile-friendly tags are included in certain search results within Google searches on mobile devices. If your site shows up there, your site is already mobile friendly and you don’t have anything to worry about.

2. Run your site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply enter your URL into the grader. You can also check the Mobile Usability Report within your Google Webmaster Tools account for additional details on mobile compatibility issues across your site.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.40.03 AMGoogle provides a 60+ page guide that discusses why and how to build a mobile-friendly website. There are dedicated guides for several open-source CMS platforms (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), as well as a specific guide to mobile SEO, with special emphasis on avoiding common mistakes.

If you need help, give us a call.

March 13th, 2015

bozell

Robin Donovan Participating in a Panel of Business Entrepreneurs at the Creative Center

Bozell President Robin Donovan will be part of a panel of business entrepreneurs in a Campaign Management class in the BFA program at the Creative Center. The panel discussion will take place on Friday, April 24. Members of this panel will give a brief outline of how they started their business, and then answer questions from the class.

Robin is the president at Bozell. She began her career at Bozell more than 15 years ago, serving as vice president of media and then becoming partner in charge of media. In 2001, she was part of the four-person executive group that bought Bozell back from Interpublic. Prior to joining Bozell, Robin managed all media for the Connecticut, Chicago, San Francisco and Baltimore offices of BrannBlau. Robin brings vast knowledge and client management experience to the partnership. She has spent the past 25+ years helping clients to maximize value. As a graduate of the University of Connecticut, Robin served on the board of the Connecticut Ad Club and the Business Marketing Association. She is also a published author having written the murder mystery, Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch?

March 5th, 2015

Laura Spaulding

Bozell Wins Multiple Awards at American Advertising ADDY Awards

picCreative marketing communications firm Bozell received several industry awards at the 2015 American Advertising ADDYs Awards Banquet, which took place in Lincoln on Saturday, Feb. 21.

Bozell was awarded four Professional Silver ADDY awards for its work with Storz Brewing Company, Nebraska Shakespeare and College World Series of Omaha, Inc. Two awards won in the category of sales promotion with other awards in the categories of advertising for the arts and sciences and non-traditional advertising.

“We’re always proud when Bozell’s hard work is recognized at the ADDYs Awards,” said Kim Mickelsen, Bozell chief executive officer. “Our team has tremendous talent, and it’s a great feeling to see that acknowledged by our industry peers.”

The American Advertising Awards is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition, attracting over 40,000 entries every year in local AAF Club (Ad Club) competitions. The mission of the American Advertising Awards competition is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.